This is the shirt my daughter received as a present for Christmas.
I will come back to this shirt shortly.
I was a very quiet student. An only child, I was always comfortable contemplating my own thoughts by myself. Every year when my parents would attend parent-teacher conferences, they would be told the same thing, “Rich needs to participate more often” or “Rich needs to speak up more.” Even as recently as a graduate level math class, a professor pulled me aside and said, “You are going to need to participate more often.”
Despite those efforts to adjust my personality each year, I still remained quiet in class. Now as a father, I am astounded by the different personalities that each of my three children have developed. Not one of them is a quiet child like I was. They are all extremely talkative and active, part of which I chalk up to having siblings to converse with each day. I have not attended a single parent-teacher conference where a teacher has told me that my child has to speak up more.
I did, however, have a teacher tell me that my daughter would need to adjust to following directions. When this was said, I immediately wondered why she would need to adjust.
I know that my daughter can be creative…
She sees things differently than most other kids her age.
Back to the shirt that she received as a gift.
As soon as my wife and I saw the shirt, we knew how fitting it was. My daughter will not be the type of child that will follow directions easily. Most of the time, she finds her own way of doing things. Sometimes, it makes more sense to her. Sometimes, her logic wins out. When you are outwitted by a first grader during homework time, you sometimes realize that the directions don’t make sense.
A recent assignment directed that after math fact practice problems were solved, each of the numbers should be colored. My daughter looked at me and asked, “Why do I need to color these if I’m just trying to practice my math facts?”
Be you. The world will adjust.
When I was a classroom teacher, I would often encourage parents not to compare their child’s performance to the performance of a sibling. “Each child is different,” I would repeat. I have come to live and practice these words as a parent. I do not compare my own children. They each have their own strengths and needs, and I love each of them for who they are. I hope that others will recognize this as they continue on their educational path.
I hope that my daughter grows up and never loses her ability to do things her own way. This trait helps to define her, even at six years old. I hope that all of her teachers appreciate her for who she is, just as I do. I hope that she continues to see the world differently, bringing her own perspective to it.
After all, the world can use more people who see things differently, who do things their own way.
Be you. The world will adjust.
Reminds me of a recent comment from my daughter…
“If a teacher asked me to describe myself in three words I would write ‘I am a rebel.'”
She might have grabbed it off social media, but still pretty good 🙂
Your points come across clearly, written in an eloquent way. Your daughter is lucky to have you as a champion and you are lucky to have her as a teacher.
Thank you! I do feel lucky.
You said it — the world sure needs more divergent thinkers. And it sounds as if you’re doing your part by raising a daughter who can embrace this role with confidence. No doubt, with kids (and parents) who think this way, we’ll all be better off.
Thanks for providing a great read!
Love the shirt and idea behind it!
Thank you! Hope all is well!
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